June 02, 2022
Paul Lux, MD, spent over 30 years as a hip and knee total joint surgeon performing thousands of surgeries himself. That’s why, when the need arose for his own knee replacement, Dr. Lux chose the talent of Washington University Orthopedics surgeons at Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital. For Robert Barrack, MD, it was a typical day of operation; for Dr. Lux, it was the day the successful surgeon became the patient.
A Former WashU Ortho Faculty Member
“It’s rewarding hanging with winners,” Dr. Lux shared. That is exactly how he felt about being a faculty member at Washington University Orthopedics. “I love being surrounded by smart people.” Dr. Lux shares that the opportunity to grow and learn everyday sets WashU Ortho apart from his experience in private practice. At an academic institution, particularly Washington University School of Medicine, the available research, technology and resources are second to none. Dr. Lux fondly remembers being challenged by the intelligence of his WashU Ortho peers and fellows (A fellow is medical doctor completing sub-specialty training after residency). “When a fellow asks you why you do something a certain way, it creates a great opportunity to step back and analyze for improvement.”
Increased Appeal of Technology
As a former WashU Ortho surgeon, Dr. Lux was particularly interested in the enhancement of joint replacements by the robotic technology used at WashU Ortho. In these procedures, the robotic assistance provides increased accuracy of bone cuts. “Accuracy goes up to 95% with the robotic technology, and WashU Ortho physicians are the most experienced in the area,” Dr. Lux said. "Robotic technology allows us to place components much more accurately in three dimensions for each individual patient's anatomy," Dr. Barrack explained. "This maximizes the chances for an excellent result."
The assistance of technology did not end with the procedure for Dr. Lux. He is enrolled in a study using a wearable device for remote monitoring of his daily progress. “I put the sleeve-like device on my leg twice a day, and it monitors my exercising.” The device has sensors around the knee and sends real-time progress updates to an app and the WashU Ortho research team. "Digital tele-health and remote monitoring has revolutionized how we educate, engage, and follow patients progress before and after surgery. For clinical research studies we switched entirely to remote monitoring 3 years ago to allow us to collect daily data on patient’s progress accurately. Now we are studying how to best incorporate this into routine clinical care," shared Dr. Barrack.
No Place Like Home
Dr. Lux could have gone anywhere for his total knee replacement. Being a highly-renowned orthopedic surgeon, he knows the big names in the joint surgery world and he trusted no one more than his former colleagues and friends at Washington University Orthopedics. “It’s kind of unfair to put that kind of pressure on your friends,” Dr. Lux admitted, "but when your friends are the best of the best, you want your care in their hands." Dr. Barrack says it is an honor and privilege when a fellow physician sends a friend or family member to him for surgery. "This case was even more special because it’s a very accomplished surgeon in the same subspecialty and one I’ve known since he was a medical student and I was a resident at Tulane."
Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital will always be home for Dr. Lux. He remembers the hospital's beginnings and the growth brought by BJC. He and his former orthopedic surgeon partner, Jeffrey Martin, MD, are proud to have played a role building the world-class joint program the hospital offers patients today.
A Note for Patients
“There’s no replacement for having been the patient. It's like the fact that mothers only truly know what the birthing experience is like,” Dr. Lux explained. He shared the positive change he noticed almost immediately when the pain caused by his arthritis was alleviated. With advances in technology, like robotics, to accurately and consistently place components in three dimensions to match patient anatomy and advances in rehab, like remote monitoring, more patients are recovering more quickly and their knees feel more normal. Dr. Lux is a prime example of the faster-paced recovery technology offers; riding the bike just two weeks post surgery and remarkably hiking the Rocky Mountains just six weeks after his operation.
Learn why patients choose WashU Ortho for their care. To schedule an appoint with a knee specialist, call 314-514-3500 or request an appointment online.